Even at 71, rock legend Eric Clapton is keeping himself busy. He has recently released a new music video for the track “Spiral” off of his upcoming album I Still Do.
According to Rolling Stone, the animated video re-imagines Clapton’s career over six-decades using album covers from Slowhand all the way up to I Still Do, which was designed by Peter Blake. Also thrown in are pictures of the guitar hero from his days with the bands Cream and The Yardbirds.
The new album, due for release on May 20, features original compositions including the aforementioned “Spiral” and “Catch the Blues” along with covers of the Bob Dylan song “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” and blues singer Robert Johnson’s “Stones in My Passway.”
“The emotive album contains exactly the right blend of creativity and passion to keep fans saying they ‘still do’ love Clapton,” said Janhvi Johorey of the website Health News.
Johorey praised the album’s other tracks including “Alabama Woman Blues,” “I’ll Be Alright,” and “I Will Be There,” which he describes as “amazing.” The track is unique as it features a guitar and vocal performance by the late George Harrison, whom Clapton was very close to. Further, he called the Bob Dylan cover “a beautiful blend of church music and bluegrass.”
The track “Can’t Let You Down” was written by the late JJ Cale, who died in 2013. Clapton had received demos of this track and “Somebody’s Knocking” from Cale’s widow, Christine. While Clapton said he thinks he improved on the latter track, he couldn’t improve on the former.
“As for ‘Can’t Let You Do It,’ his version is undoable,” said Clapton, in an interview for Guitar World. “It’s like trying to do ‘Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag’ or any James Brown song—and thinking you can improve it.”
JamBase reported that Eric Clapton’s new solo effort features musical contributions by such musicians as Andy Fairweather Low, Paul Carrack, Simon Climie, and Walt Richmond to name a few. Glyn Johns, who previously worked with Clapton on his 1977 album Slowhand, produced the album.
“I’ve worked with lots of really good guitar players, and the difference with Eric is he absolutely very rarely – in my experience with him, anyway – sits and figures something out to the nth degree,” said Johns, for an interview in support of the album’s release.
He continued, “Most of it is an emotive response to what he’s hearing around him, to what the song suggests, or whatever else… It goes straight from his heart to his fingers.”
Both Johns and the English guitarist had a shared goal in mind for making the album, according to USA Today.
“Glyn and I both like variety,” said Clapton. “Every song is in a different key. That’s just the way I like to hear things. It’s petty, in a way, but if I hear three songs on an album in the same key, it will annoy me.”
In conjunction with the release of I Still Do on May 20, Eric Clapton will star in a music special titled I Still Do: An Intimate Discussion About Rock, the Blues and Shepherd’s Pie. As reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, the special will air on VH1 Classic and MTV Live, and the title is in reference to Clapton’s view of blues music.
“Even now, I don’t link pain and suffering with blues music,” said Clapton. “I’ve heard people say, ‘Oh, it’s depressing’ or ‘Doesn’t it get you down?’ I find it enlightening. I get the opposite effect from it.”
Earlier this month, Eric Clapton responded to Prince’s untimely death, by recording and posting a track on his official fan website titled “PRNRIP.” ABC News Radio described Clapton, who had previously posted a written tribute on Facebook, as “finger-picking a repeating jazzy, folky melody.”
[Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images]